Monthly Features

Are You A Potential College Athlete? If So, The NCAA Clearinghouse may be for you!

The National Center for College Costs has helped client families navigate the complex federal methodology used for need-based financial aid for almost two decades and helped them find colleges that meet each student’s academic and financial needs. This year, as in all years, there are graduating seniors who plan to compete athletically at NCAA-affiliated institutions. Some will receive partial or full scholarships to help reduce their college costs. In order to pull down athletic scholarships these students must meet the freshman eligibility standards outlined by the NCAA Eligibility Center.

Athletes who will play at the Division I and Division II levels must meet the criteria in three general academic categories in order to be eligible for competition their freshman year: core courses, test scores, and grade point averages are considered. Division III athletes are not required to meet these criteria and complete the NCAA clearinghouse process, but rather must meet the student-athlete guidelines for their respective institutions.

Core Courses:
To qualify for the NCAA Clearinghouse, students must pass at least 16 core courses in high school. These courses are 4 years of English, 3 years of math, 2 years, of science, 1 extra science or English class, and 6 other courses. Every athlete should go to or to verify that their courses meet the requirements.

Test Scores:
The NCAA accepts both SAT and ACT test scores. Test scores must be sent directly to the NCAA Eligibility Center by the testing agency. Test scores that appear on transcripts will not be used. When registering for the SAT or ACT, use the Eligibility Center code of 9999 to make sure the score is reported to the Eligibility Center. Division I has a sliding scale for test scores and grade point average. Division II schools require a minimum SAT score of 820 and an ACT sum score of 68. The critical reading and math scores are the only SAT components considered by the NCAA when determining eligibility. The writing section is not considered at this time. The ACT score used for NCAA purposes is the sum of the four sections on the ACT: English, mathematics, reading, and science.

Grade Point Average:
Only core courses are used in the calculation of the grade-point average. Be sure to look at your high school’s list of NCAA-approved core courses on the Eligibility Center’s website to make certain that courses being taken have been approved as core courses. The website is Like test scores, Division I schools look at a student- athlete’s GPA on a sliding scale. Division II institutions require a 2.3 minimum GPA if you register after August 1st and a 2.0 minimum if you register before then. The sliding scales for test scores and grade point average can be found at then click “Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete.”

Students enrolling at an NCAA Division I or Division II institution for the first time also need to complete the amateurism questionnaire through the Eligibility Center website. Students need to request final amateurism certification prior to enrollment.

The NCAA Eligibility Center wants to ensure that all institutions and their student-athletes meet the necessary guidelines. This article details the basic parameters that must be met by all freshman student-athletes entering a college affiliated with the NCAA on or after August 1, 2016. Again, please go to to be sure that all additional requirements are met. Any prospective college student may register with the Eligibility Center once the junior year is completed, but this process needs to be completed immediately by any senior who plans to compete next fall.

Good Luck!

Publication Date: August 2016